Top 10 Hybrids with AWD

Hybrids are gaining traction – and we don’t just mean they’re growing in popularity. There’s also an increasing number of electrically assisted automobiles on the market that also offer the benefits of all-wheel drive.

Not just crossovers and SUVs, either – of which there are many, from the humble likes of the Toyota RAV4 to the uber-luxurious Bentley Bentayga. Or supercars, for that matter, like the Acura NSX, BMW i8, and the discontinued Porsche 918 Spyder. We’re talking about standard-production passenger cars that you can buy today.

So if you want your next car to have all-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain but don’t need (or want) the larger form of an SUV (or the performance of a six-figure sports car), here are 10 hybrids with AWD that are currently waiting for you at your local dealership, ranked by price. Stay tuned: We will have a list of SUV and crossover hybrids with AWD very soon.

hybrids with awd

The cheapest model on our list is also the most fuel-efficient, and one of the latest to couple four-wheel traction with hybrid propulsion. Refreshed for 2019, the Toyota Prius is now available with a new AWD-e system that adds extra electric motor on the rear axle to give it extra grip. It takes a small hit in fuel economy, which Toyota estimates at 52 miles per gallon in the city, 48 on the highway, and 50 on the combined cycle – slightly down from the standard, front-drive Prius’ 58/53/56. But it’s still one of the most efficient all-wheel-drive vehicles you can buy.

The AWD system in this Prius is unique in that it only connects the rear axle from zero to 6 mph regardless of conditions for stronger and more confident launches, and at speeds at up to 43 mph if wheel slippage is detected. When slippage is not detected and at speeds over 43 mph, the electric motor is essentially disconnected and the Prius continues to operate as a front-wheel-drive car.

ALSO SEE: 2019 Toyota Prius and Prius AWD Review

hybrids with awd

Though billed as an SUV (and with most of the off-road capability to back it up), the Subaru Crosstrek is essentially a jacked-up, rugged wagon version of the Impreza (much as the Outback is to the Legacy). It’s also the only electrified vehicle Subaru currently offers, packing the Japanese automaker’s signature flat-four engine and all-wheel drive, but augmented with a pair of electric motors with plug-in capability. Short of the Prius, you won’t find a more fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive passenger car (however far it may push the definition) on the market.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Home EV Chargers

hybrids with awd

Driving Tips to Save Your Brakes

The way you drive can affect the longevity of your car’s parts, especially wear items like brakes. By following these simple tips, you can extend the life on your brakes and save yourself money in the long run.

Your vehicle’s brakes generate stopping power by creating huge amounts of friction and heat. This friction and heat slows or stops your vehicle, but it also means that your brakes wear out a little every time you use them. This is how brakes work and it means that occasionally you’ll need to replace components like brake pads and rotors.

Brakes are a “wear item” — that is, a component designed to wear down while doing its job over the course of many months and miles. As such, a few simple tricks can help extend the life of your vehicle’s braking system parts, ensuring that the wearable components last longer before requiring replacement, saving you money in the process.

It’s all about making life easier on your brakes. Read on for the details:

Prolonged periods of high brake system temperatures can degrade or even damage components over time, which is why it’s important to help your brakes out by being conscious of when they’ll be hottest and helping to cool them down if possible.

After generating high brake temperatures, try to allow the vehicle to cruise a few moments without any application of the brake pedal (where feasible) at the highest speed possible. This allows cool air to flow over the brakes, reducing temperatures in a quick and controlled manner.

Your brakes will be hottest in a variety of scenarios, including immediately after braking down a steep hill (more so with a trailer in tow), after spirited driving around a winding road or road course, or after executing a rapid stop from a high rate of speed. Basically, any time they’re applied for a length of time from a high speed, or repeatedly in quick succession, your brakes will become piping hot, and heat ‘soaks’ into components like the brake calipers, pads, rotors and fluid.

It’s immediately following these conditions where an opportunity exists to prolong brake component life by providing extra cooling. If possible, avoid stopping, slow speeds or parking within a minute or two of conditions like those mentioned here. This may not always be feasible and that’s fine — your brakes are designed to stand up to the heat. But cooling them down with an extra spin around the block or a few more minutes of driving can go a long way towards prolonged brake component life.

Proper maintenance of your vehicle’s brakes can prolong the life of wearable components within. Check your owner’s manual for details; parts of your braking system may occasionally need to be dismantled, cleaned, lubricated and reassembled. This bit of brake-system pampering can work wonders for performance and safety and also ensures that all parts of the system are healthy and in proper working order. A healthy braking system is a long-lasting braking system!

Following too closely is a bad manner, safety hazard and key cause of accelerated brake system wear. The closer you follow another vehicle, the more often and harshly you’ll have to apply your brakes as traffic speeds up and slows down — and the faster they’ll wear. A bigger gap between you and the next car in traffic means more opportunities to coast, instead of braking, to slow down. You’ll be at lower risk of an accident and your brakes will last longer too.

Refreshed 2020 Audi A4 to Get Optional Mild Hybrid System

The 2020 Audi A4 has just been refreshed with tweaked styling cues and updated technology and powertrains.

A huge volume seller for Audi, the German brand has given its mid-size sport sedan some updates to keep it competitive with the newer BMW 3 Series. The 2020 Audi A4 gets a tweaked grille and new headlights that help make it looks even more high-end. LED headlights are now standard and uplevel headlines get Matrix LEDs with fully automatic highbeams.

ALSO SEE: Where is Audi Made?

The highlight of the updates is the addition of an optional 12-volt mild hybrid system that should help reduce fuel consumption but also make the stop/start smoother and augment performance. While Europeans get to pick from a bunch diesel engines we won’t get in North America, we will likely get the Audi A4 35 TSFI and the S4, which is powered by a turbocharged 3.0L V6 that outputs 350 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. Drivers can also upgrade to a sport suspension and two adaptive suspensions, one for better comfort and one for better performance.

ALSO SEE: Audi S6 and S7 Debut with 450-HP V6, Mild-Hybrid System

A new MMI system finally brings a 10.1-inch touchscreen to the Audi A4, which previously used a rotary knob to control the infotainment system. Audi says the menu structure and voice control functions have been made more intuitive. The sedan is also capable of using the internet to connect to swarm intelligence and car-to-infrastructure and car-to-car communication, which can access live traffic information and help you catch as many green lights as possible. This also means the car can act as a wi-fi hotspot. Of course, Audi’s digital cockpit and a head-up display are also available.

The 2020 Audi A4 has been released for the European market, and more information on North American models and pricing should be coming soon. Unfortunately, Audi didn’t release very many photos of the new A4 and didn’t even include a photo of the updated interior, so we will update this post when more photos come out.

Bimmerfest is Turning 20 and We’re Giving Out 2,500 Stickers to Say Thank You!

Bimmerfest is celebrating its 20th anniversary by giving away special stickers to the first 2,500 people who buy a $45 two-day-plus-parade-lap pass at Bimmerfest 2019 this year!

That’s right, Bimmerfest is nearly old enough to drink and we’ve learned a lot over the years. We’ve learned that there are a lot of you out there love BMWs. We’ve learned that BMW fans are among the kindest, coolest people around. And we’ve learned that people really like stickers.

So we printed 2,500 20th Anniversary stickers and we’ll be giving them out–first come first serve–to anyone who buys a two-day pass (which includes free entry into Sunday’s parade lap) at the gates (cash only).

As you know by now, Bimmerfest 2019 is taking place on May 25 and 26 at Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana, California and two-day passes are just $45-that’s another trick we learned in our 20th year because the only thing people love more than free stickers is $15 savings!.

Although these rad new stickers are free, we only have 2,500, so you probably want to be in line early on Saturday if you really want one. The good news is, even if you’re too late to get one of our 20th Anniversary Stickers, you still get free entry into Sunday’s parade lap, which is normally a $20 value. That’s savings on savings!

And finally, we’d just like to say: HOLY CRAP THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUPPORTING US FOR 20 YEARS, IT’S BEEN SO MUCH FUN AND WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU ALL NEXT WEEKEND!

Top 10 Best Convertibles: 2019 – The Short List

After another brutal Midwestern winter, warm weather is finally upon us once more. This makes convertibles top of mind, and here’s a list of our favorite ones.

Whether you’ve got a middle-class budget or can afford six-figures, there’s a wide range of droptop cars available from manufacturers all around the world. Underscoring this point, here are 10 of our favorite convertibles, an eclectic list with a little something for everyone.

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And we start in Italy with the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. What other car offers such dramatic styling and purity of purpose for the same money? Starting at less than $70,000, it truly is a reasonably attainable exotic. Not a convertible in the traditional sense because it has a removable fabric roof section rather than a contraption that folds away like a piece of origami, it nonetheless provides an open-air driving experience, allowing you and one lucky passenger to see the sky above and listen to its 237-horsepower engine crackle and churn with every gear change.

ALSO SEE: Top 15 Best AWD Sports Cars

Neither the fastest nor fanciest car available, the Mustang is nonetheless an icon, a four-wheeled piece of rolling Americana. Available in fastback and convertible body-styles, Ford’s fabled filly unquestionably deserves a spot on this list thanks to its heritage, affordability and, of course, performance. Droptop models can be had with a thrifty EcoBoost four-cylinder engine or the mighty 5.0L V8 endowed with 460 horses.

SEE ALSO: 9 Things to Know About the Range Rover Velar

Aston Martin’s DB11 is, hands down, one of the prettiest cars available today. With a long nose, clean flanks and perky rear, it’s a stunner from just about every angle. And even the convertible Volante version is gorgeous, losing none of the coupe’s elegance when engineers chopped the top. A 503-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 borrowed from the folks at Mercedes-AMG makes an equally compelling argument.

Do Performance Brakes Really Make a Difference?

Lightweight materials are only part of the equation when it comes to what makes high-performance braking systems superior to factory equipment.

The braking system in many mainstream cars is designed, engineered and built to a price point. With mass production of affordable cars, braking systems are typically built to be good enough for the average driver and to keep costs down.

Of course, there’s always room for improvement. That’s why high-performance brakes are commonly fitted to pricier, higher-performing vehicles, and why some of these even feature further-upgraded braking system components built from exotic materials and backed by the latest braking system technologies.

Furthermore, upgraded performance braking systems are at the core of a multi-million-dollar industry propped up by tuners, driving enthusiasts and motorsports participants around the globe.

The gist? While the braking system in a mainstream, mass-produced car, motorcycle, truck or crossover is good, many better options exist — and shoppers desiring top-level braking performance have no shortage of choices.

Below, we’ll take a look at the world of performance braking systems and braking system upgrades. Whether you’re considering upgrading the brakes on your existing vehicle for a higher performance set or shopping for a new vehicle with the latest in high-end braking technology on board, here are the basics:

Weight is the enemy of fuel economy, handling and performance, which is why automakers are going to more extreme lengths than ever to make lighter vehicles. Often this involves numerous incremental weight-reduction measures throughout the vehicle. One way to reduce mass is by using a high-performance braking system with aluminum brake calipers.

Conventional brake calipers are typically made of iron and steel, which is cheap and durable, but heavy. Aluminum calipers weigh less, saving a few pounds while reducing the vehicle’s unsprung weight — that is, the weight of parts like wheels, axle hubs and brakes that don’t ride on top of the vehicle’s suspension. This contributes to improved handling response, steering feel and overall performance.

Many of the world’s fastest cars do away with commonly used cast iron brake rotors in exchange for something much more exotic. Carbon-ceramic brake rotors have been taking center stage in the most extreme performance braking systems for years; the materials used in their construction have their roots in the worlds of aerospace and motorsports.

By making the brake rotors out of this composite blend of lightweight and alluring materials, many benefits are realized: carbon-ceramic brakes are lighter, have a longer service life, are massively resist thermal fatigue and brake fade, and perform far more powerfully and consistently in racetrack and motorsport use.

Though the use of carbon-ceramic brake rotors is arguably the single best way to improve a vehicle’s braking performance, they are massively expensive — which is why they’re typically only found in big-dollar, high-performance vehicles.

Where is Audi Made?

Most people probably know that Audi is a German automaker, but do you know where in Germany the company is from, where it is based, and where it builds its cars today?

In this post, we’ll provide a short background on the history of Audi, where it is based and its various production plants are located. We’ll be focusing on the Audi plants that serve the North American market, as automakers often operate plants that serve certain markets only, such as those in South America or China.

SEE ALSO: Refreshed 2020 Audi A4 to Get Optional Mild Hybrid System

Scroll down to learn all about Audi and where Audi vehicles are made.

Audi’s history can be traced back to German engineer and entrepreneur August Horch, who started up his own car company August Horch & Cie. Motorwagenwerke AG in 1904. He was later forced out of the company and started up his own car company. He was unable to use the Horch name for the new company due to trademark laws, however, so he called it Audi AG.

The Audi name was allegedly thought up by August Horch’s son, who suggested it as “horch” translated to “hear” in Latin, with “audi” being the singular, meaning “to listen.” Audi’s familiar four rings logo came into play in 1932, when Audi AG, Horch, DKW and Wanderer Company merged together, with each ring represented one of the four companies.

SEE ALSO: Audi E-Tron 55 Quattro Range Rated at 277 Miles by CARB

This means the earliest you can trace the Audi brand back is when Wanderer Company was first incorporated in 1885. Wandered didn’t start making vehicles until 1903, however, whereas Horch’s first production vehicle came out in 1901. Prior to 1903, Wanderer made motorcycles and bicycles.

These are the manufacturing facilities that serve the North American market.

Trademark Filing Suggests Acura Legend Could Make a Return

It’s been a popular opinion lately that Acura seems to be a bit lost in terms of its product strategy, but a recent trademark filing might help restore hope in the Acura faithful.

AutoGuide.com has discovered that Acura’s parent company Honda has recently applied for a trademark in Europe for the word “Legend,” which could be applied to “Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land; Apparatus for locomotion by air; Apparatus for locomotion by water; Parts and fittings for land vehicles; Parts and fittings for air and space vehicles; Parts and fittings for water vehicles,” according to the filing.

This is curious because Acura does not operate in Europe, but companies can sometimes file trademarks in different markets to protect a name while avoiding suspicion in their own backyard while they work on new projects. They could also be trying to protect the word so other automakers in North America won’t be tempted to use it because it’s already been trademarked in another market. [Update: The Acura RLX is still sold as the Honda Legend in Japan and Honda could just be moving to renew the trademark to protect the nameplate. If this is the case, it could mean absolutely nothing for us, which Acura PR spokespeople seemed to allude to.]

ALSO SEE: Special Edition Acura TLX Gets the NSX Treatment, MDX to Follow

Reports earlier this year, however, suggested a new “production-ready concept” based on the Precision concept would debut at this year’s Pebble Beach events during Monterey Car Week, and this trademark filing suggests a new Acura Legend could be unveiled.

We’re slightly suspicious of the timing of this move to trademark the word Legend because we all know the demand for sedans and coupes is diminishing, so we have three theories on what a new Acura Legend could be:

If Honda’s luxury brand was going to debut an actual performance coupe, it would make more sense to make it a compact model and bring back the RSX or Integra name, so it’s very unlikely the Acura Legend will be a traditional coupe with two doors. What theory do you think is most likely? Tell us in the comments section!

Acura stopped selling the Legend in North America in 1995 and fans have been asking for its return ever since. After the Legend was discontinued, it was succeeded by the Acura RL, then later the RLX. Back then, the Legend was V6-powered and was available as both a sedan and a coupe. The design of this mid-sized luxury performance car was pretty popular. Rapper and actor Ludacris reportedly still drives his gold 1993 Acura Legend and the Japanese automaker recently did a full restoration on the sedan.

ALSO SEE: Where is Acura From and Where is Acura Made?

Reviving an old nameplate can be tricky because old school fans can get very testy about not respecting the name or history behind the name. Take for example the new Supra. Even though the new Supra is an incredible car, people love talking about how it’s not a “real Supra” because it’s “nothing like the old one.”

Donate For a Chance to Win This 2019 BMW M2 Competition or $50,000 Cash

Winning a new car and supporting a great charity is something we can all get behind, so use this code to get twice the tickets for your chance to win a new BMW M2 Competition—or $50,000 cash.

Enter now to double your chances of winning! The draw takes place on July 19.

When you use the promo code M2X, you’ll instantly get twice the entries to win this beautiful car. So what exactly is it you’ll be winning?

About the 2019 BMW M2 Competition

BMW has captured the essence of the old M3 and injected it into the current M2 model lineup. With a real M engine under the hood, the M2 is as fast around the track as it is reasonable to drive daily. BMW fans will recognize the twin-turbo as the one from the M4, which now powers the M2 Competition as well. It’s a classic straight-six, 3.0-liter powerplant with its boost reduced. Even still, the M2 Competition hustles up to 60 mph in a mere 4 seconds.

Power gets to the rear wheels through a speedy 7-speed transmission, which includes a double clutch and manual shifting mode.

Detailed Specs:

Use promo code M2X for twice the tickets

Who the contest supports

All of the proceeds raised by the contest help meet the daily operating needs of TRI Industries. TRI Industries is a registered 503(c)(3) non-profit that provides opportunities for disabled Americans with support, growth, and opportunities. Many of the people TRI Industries employs are disabled veterans or fully blind. Through the work of TRI Industries, and the funds raised by this contest, families are sustained with employment and income.